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Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique is on waivers. Repeat, Adam Henrique is on waivers. And, on today’s Inside The Box, we’re going to look at the three best potential landing spots for the veteran forward.
On what has been a busy day full of drama in the NHL, we were given some shocking news earlier when Henrique landed on waivers, just two years after the Ducks signed him to a big-ticket five-year, $29.125 million contract.
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Yes, it has been a slow start for the 31-year-old who has just four points (3 G, 1 A) in 16 games for Anaheim this season with a plus / minus rating of -8, but there is no doubt that the forward still has something left in the tank and he’s still got plenty to offer a team.
After all, Henrique led the Ducks in points with 43 (26 G, 17 A) in 2019-20 and he’s also a leader on what is a young team, but he’s now available to be claimed off waivers by any team that wants him. And there should be plenty of interested parties given that they won’t have to part with any assets in order to acquire what is still a very good center in the NHL.
Granted, the one major caveat at play here is that Henrique has a cap hit of $5,825,000 this season, and the next three seasons after that, so that is a rather hefty contract for any team to take on and that could prove to be a stumbling block, especially in a flat cap world.
However, Henrique can still be a productive performer given that he has recorded over 40 points in each of his last seven seasons, while he has 189 goals and 193 assists for 382 points in 681 career NHL regular-season games.
We are going to take a look at what would be the three best and most logical landing spots for Adam Henrique, who could still find himself traded by the Anaheim Ducks even if he isn’t claimed off waivers. Let’s delve right in…
Three best landing spots for Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique
1. New York Rangers
Anytime a center becomes available the New York Rangers will be firmly in the conversation given their lack of depth down the middle. They have Mika Zibanejad who is a rising star despite his struggles this season, Ryan Strome probably isn’t a long-term answer and Filip Chytil is currently out hurt.
There is no secret that the Blueshirts want a high-end center to provide a lethal one-two punch behind Zibanejad and, while Adam Henrique isn’t that, he could slot in on the third-line and become a real dangerous role player for the Rangers.
Now, given that Henrique has an AAV of over $5 million, he would become a very expensive third-line pivot so that could put the Rangers off who would have the cap space to make it work if they can move a minor piece, but there is some upside there.
He could become a mentor for the young players, play on the penalty kill and perhaps the second power play unit, he can still log big minutes, he has been solid in the faceoff circle which is a big area of weakness for the Rangers and he would also add some grit and toughness to a team that needs it, so this could be a good fit for the New York Rangers who need help down the middle.
2. Buffalo Sabres
At this point, the Buffalo Sabres should be considering all options with the possibility of going 10 straight seasons without making the Stanley Cup Playoffs a very real possibility. And, while that proposition is scary enough, it should be even more terrifying given that the rumors regarding Jack Eichel‘s future have returned with a vengeance.
Make no doubt about it, there will come a time when Eichel will likely request a trade out of Buffalo if the Sabres can’t put things right and, after an offseason in which they signed Taylor Hall to a one-year, $8 million contract and also added veterans in the ilk of Eric Staal and Cody Eakin, that day could come sooner rather than later if they don’t make the postseason this year.
As a result, General Manager Kevyn Adams should be willing to do anything in order to give Eichel more help and more weapons to get out of a loaded East Division and secure a long-awaited return to the postseason in 2020-21, and claiming Adam Henrique off waivers would be a start.
He could slot in as the Sabres’ third-line center, providing good depth down the middle behind Eichel and Staal and he would help to drive secondary scoring from that line, as well as being able to eat big minutes, play in all situations, take draws, add some grit and play a real 200-foot game.
The only big sticking point here is that the Sabres only have just over $1 million in cap space available according to CapFriendly, so they would obviously have to move a couple of pieces in order to make this work. However, and again, given the desperation surrounding this franchise right now, I think Kevyn Adams would find a way to make this work if he felt Henrique could really help this team and, more importantly, if he could help Jack Eichel.
3. Detroit Red Wings
I have heard the Ottawa Senators mentioned in the Adam Henrique conversation and it makes sense given that they have the second most cap space behind the New Jersey Devils with $8,836,197. However, I actually think the Detroit Red Wings are a better fit.
For starters, General Manager Steve Yzerman is clearly trying to build a culture within that organization and he’s doing it slowly, acquiring a swathe of veterans this past offseason in the ilk of Marc Staal and Bobby Ryan to try and help develop the young players and also help to create a winning mentality.
With that in mind, Adam Henrique could be a good fit for that room. He has 681 career regular-season games under his belt, he’s been on one deep postseason run with the New Jersey Devils, he’s a hard-nosed player who plays the game right and he could be a real glue guy in that locker room while acting as a mentor for Detroit’s plethora of prospects that will be looking to make the leap to the NHL in the not-too distant future.
Plus, with a lack of talent on that roster, Henrique could play a bigger role for the Red Wings, potentially forming a one-two punch behind Dylan Larkin, and he could help them to be more competitive this season while also repairing his own reputation in the process. Steve Yzerman is trying to build something in Hockey Town and Adam Henrique very much could be a part of that.
Taylor Hall is off to a disappointing start with the Buffalo Sabres, and that could lead to yet another year with no Playoff action.
These are the main storylines to follow in the two NHL Outdoors Games at Lake Tahoe this weekend.